Cantor’s callousness draws more criticism

We’ve been talking quite a bit over the last two weeks about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his approach to federal disaster relief. Cantor and congressional Republicans have created a new standard for emergency funds: American victims of natural disasters can receive aid, but only if the relief funds are offset by budget cuts elsewhere.

Congress has never operated this way — even Tom DeLay didn’t support such an approach — but we also haven’t seen a majority-party caucus this extreme in modern history.

Yesterday, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) criticized this approach, and last night, Donald Trump weighed in.

“Representative [Eric] Cantor, who I like, said we don’t want to give money to the tornado victims,” Trump said. “And yet in Afghanistan we’re spending $10 billion a month. But we don’t want to help the people that got devastated by tornadoes. Wiped out, killed, maimed, injured — we don’t have money for them but we’re spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan.” […]

“We’re spending billions of dollars in Iraq,” he said. “We’re spending billions of billions of dollars and we can’t help people that got flooded by the Mississippi, that got hit horribly by the tornadoes.”

To be sure, this doesn’t obscure Trump’s status as a ridiculous media buffoon. The point, though, is that the Republican position on emergency relief is becoming increasingly problematic.

Indeed, the more attention this gets, the more of a political loser it becomes. It doesn’t take much for voters to wonder why Republicans don’t hesitate to finance wars without paying for them, bailout Wall Street without paying it, and offer subsidies to oil companies without paying for them, but when an American community is devastated by a tornado, all of a sudden, the GOP is inclined to hold the funds hostage until the party gets offsetting cuts.

The Daily Show slammed Cantor’s callousness this week, too. If you haven’t seen the segment, it’s worth checking out.